There are various challenges that fleet managers need to be aware of regarding risk management – the most obvious being road accidents, which can not only endanger staff and leave vehicles badly damaged, but may also cause disruption and delays the negatively impact customer service.
GPS fleet tracking makes for a highly effective risk management tool, and it has been widely adopted by fleet operators in recent years partly with this function in mind. It's not enough just to have the right insurance cover in place – fleet managers must be prepared to take proactive steps to manage and mitigate risk. This is a crucial aspect of fleet management. There are two areas in particular where fleet tracking systems can help – driver behaviour and compliance. We will look at each in turn.
A report from the Institute of Advanced Motorists indicates that driver error accounts for significantly more road accidents than any other factor. Analysing official data, the study found that in 2014, driver error or reaction was cited in more than 117,000 road accidents – 74 per cent of the total. Vehicle defects, by contrast, were cited as a factor in 3,230 accidents (two per cent).
GPS fleet tracking systems allow for major improvements in driver conduct behind the wheel. Because they provide fleet managers with detailed insight into how drivers behave when on the road, businesses are provided with the information they need to devise training and development programmes tailored to eliminate undesirable driver behaviour.
This data also makes for a highly effective debriefing tool. Drivers can be presented with hard evidence of where and when they've been going wrong. Behaviours such as tailgating, excessive acceleration, harsh cornering and rough braking are apparent from fleet tracking data. Having this evidence to hand can be very useful in persuading individual drivers of the importance of embarking on such development programmes.
In addition to improving driver conduct and performance, GPS fleet tracking systems can also make compliance much simpler and more effective. As we've already touched on, mechanical failures can seriously disrupt the service fleet operators provide to their customers. Fleet tracking technology makes it easier for managers to ensure their fleet's vehicle maintenance is on schedule through odometer-based service alerts. This reduces the risk of vehicles experiencing mechanical problems while out in the field.
Fleet tracking technology also provides a platform to implement robust fleet safety procedures – that help drivers adhere to fleet operator policy with ease. One of the most valuable features is vehicle remote vehicle safety checks, where in vehicle devices are used to compel the driver to complete a series of checks before they start there working day – and report to management if there were any defects found. This enables quick action to be taken to resolve any vehicle maintenance needs, as well as providing clear and auditable evidence of your commitment to duty of care responsibilities.
Having systems and process in place to manage on road risk not only provides peace of mind for fleet managers – but also supports many other key businesses initiatives, including driver motivation, business efficiency, road safety and cost saving. Why not take a look at our guide to risk management technology and see if there are any changes that you could implement.